“Going home to the family” is an act that marks many stages of one’s life starting with the need to be with family during the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, or death of a relative. There’s also the desire to be with family to share an achievement, or to nurse defeat.
In the past week, we’ve read about winning and losing candidates saying they just want “to go home to be with family,” a confirmation of how our souls seek family during significant moments of our lives.
It’s a fact of life –to be with family not just as protector or provider, but as kin to complete a unit of society. The family is a “safe place,” where individuals get encouragement to develop into better citizens, and thus contribute to the development of a community, and of the nation.
Thus, the United Nations in 1982, initiated a process of developing global awareness on the family and the issues facing them directed towards governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations.
In 1993, a United Nations resolution declared that May 15 be observed as the International Day of Families. Specifically, the initiative aims “to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.”
“Families and urbanization” is the 2022 theme of today’s observance of International Day of Families. According to the UN, “urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping the world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide.”
Today, “half of the world’s population is living in cities, and by 2050, this number will increase to two-thirds of the world’s population.”
In the Philippines, like many other countries, urbanization has affected the lives of millions who live in the cities. They struggle with the problems caused by urbanization, among them, lack of housing, overcrowding, poor environmental conditions, unemployment, slums, and crime.
According to data, in 2020, 47.41 percent of the Philippines’ total population live in urban areas and cities, attracted by job opportunities that promise a better life.
Because of the global situation, this year’s commemoration aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies that can manage urbanization to benefit families and enhance living conditions.
Last Friday, a paper focusing on the impact of urbanization and migration on families was launched by the UN. The paper addresses recent urbanization trends impacting families, among them, family life, in particular, the importance of affordable safe housing, child and youth developments and intergenerational issues; green spaces, and social stability.
The United Nations had adopted in 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), many of them to address the problems related to urbanization. The SDG is a set of 17 goals aiming to “eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse and preventable deaths, address environmental destruction, and usher in an era of development for all people, everywhere.”
“Family policies are a mainstay of national public policies, and the most meaningful vehicle for governments to influence the living standards of upcoming generations,” a statement from the UN said.
While the international community commemorates International Day of Families, and decision makers plan the goals to solve the issues affecting families, to most, the significance of today is that it is Sunday, and it is family day.